Listen: Celebrating Levon Helm (Episode 1521)

Mark Lavon Helm was born May 26, 1940 in Elaine, Arkansas. Surrounded by music from the beginning, he was fascinated by the sounds that sprang from the Mississippi river delta soil that his family farmed for countless years. His passion for Blues, Country, and minstrel shows inspired him to play Rock ‘n Roll, and the legend formed itself from that point on.

“Levon” incorporated his passion for American Roots music styles into the music he played his entire life; and whether it was as a member of The Hawks, The Band, or in his solo material, Levon crafted a sonic legacy that stands as an everlasting monument that will inspire musicians for the rest of time.

Levon Helm passed away April 19, 2012, and tributes continue to be offered up in memory of the man and his music. In time for what would have marked his 75th birthday, Johnny Full-Time honors one of his biggest heroes with this hour of music celebrating Levon Helm. You’ll hear tunes from the new boxed set of reissued music by The Band, material from Levon’s solo work, tributes from friends and by artists whom he inspired. You can view the complete playlist below.

Levon’s legacy continues, with the upcoming release of daughter Amy Helm’s solo debut, Didn’t It Rain, which comes out July 24, 2015. The first single off that album, “Rescue Me,” was released May 19th. Click Here to Purchase
Scroll down below to watch videos of a few of Levon’s performances. Make sure to share this show and leave a comment with your thoughts and memories!

1. The Band – Don’t Do It (Live At The Academy Of Music, New York)
Capitol Albums 1968-1977 (2015)
2. Laith Al-Saadi – Ophelia – REAL
3. Paul Mark & the Van Dorens – Don’t Ya Tell Henry – Smartest Man In The Room
4. Aretha Franklin – The Weight – The Queen Of Soul (2014)
5. Levon Helm – A Train Robbery – Dirt Farmer
6. Bob Dylan – All You Have To Do Is Dream (Unreleased)
The Basement Tapes RAW (2014)
7. The Levon Helm Band – The Same Thing – The Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 3 (2014)
8. The Band – Rag Mama Rag (Alternate Take/Remastered)
Capitol Rarities 1968-1977 (2015)
9. Marc Cohn – Listening to Levon (w/Levon Helm Band and Greg Leisz) – Love For Levon
10. Stranger Than Swedes – Presence Of Your Soul
Presence of Your Soul: A Tribute to Levon Helm
11. Jimmy Vivino & the Black Italians – Song for Levon 13 Live
12. Levon Helm – You’ll Never Again Be Mine – The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams

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Courtesy Annie Mae Records

This week, the playlist features an extremely wide variety of Blues styles, including a set of harmonica tunes. There’s a powerhouse cover of a Koko Taylor classic, some social commentary through song, and a Blues’d-up version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” that comes off a set of archived recordings by Bob Dylan and The Band never before released!

This week’s featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is “Big Maybelle” by Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer. It comes off the truly independent new release, Hurricane Unleashed, which is available now from Annie Mae Records. The album features a dozen songs, including 10 original tracks. You can find out complete album information, tour schedule, and more at his official website

1. Linsey Alexander – Call My Wife – Come Back Baby
2. Eddie Martin – Let’s Move It On – Blues Took Me By The Hand, Vol. 2: Electric Sessions
3. JW-Jones – Thank You – Belmont Boulevard
4. Sauce Boss – Chicago Combat Zone – 100% Pure
5. Deanna Bogart – Tightrope – Just A Wish Away
6. Bob Dylan – Folsom Prison Blues w/The Band – The Basement Tapes Raw:
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11

7. Johnny Cash – I Drove Her Out Of My Mind – Out Among The Stars
8. Low Society – Voodoo Woman – You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down
9. Blue Lunch – Mother-In-Law – Blue Lunch Special
10. Steve Krase – Big Bad Woman – Buckle Up
11. Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers – Neighbor, Neighbor – Emergency Situation
12. Roly Platt – Rippin’ It Up – Inside Out
13. Bobby Hurricane Spencer – Big Maybelle – Hurricane Unleashed

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